FINDLAY, OH (WTOL) - Nearly ten years after Findlay's historic flood, work to prevent a similar flood is finally beginning to take shape.
Officials in Findlay and Hancock County are thrilled to hear that construction to reduce the flood level of the Blanchard River could be happening very soon, as the design of one of the aspects of the Blanchard River Flood Mitigation study has been approved.
Of the four recommendations for controlling flood waters, the least costly at $20 million dollars, is to cut "benches" into the river banks and remove dams and riffle structures.
Earlier this week, the Maumee Watershed Conservancy District approved the preliminary design of this project that would increase the Blanchard River's capacity from Cory Street to Broad Avenue. The work is expected to lower 100-year flood water level by a foot.
"And that's going to really be beneficial to us. And most people would say, 'Well, a foot? Big deal.' But, that does have a significant impact on the downtown in significant storms," said Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik.
Hancock County is responsible for the funding of the project.
The Norfolk Southern rail crossing west of the Cory Street Bridge has also been marked as a choke point for river flow. Hancock County Commissioner Brian Robertson says it may take longer to work with Norfolk Southern to finalize a plan for the crossing.
The benching is only one of the steps to relieve flooding in downtown Findlay, but every incremental step will help.
"It is a big step because we're no longer studying, we're looking at taking action," said Robertson. "And really in just a matter of a few years we're going to have a project that has executed one of the key components."
Stantec would have to make it's final engineering recommendations before full approval can be gr anted in May.